Preschool Teachers & Home-School Parents – Get this E-Book on your Kindle

Filed under Cooking and kidsKids Cooking and Learning Through Food Activities

A new ebook has just been posted on Amazon.  Kids Cooking and Learning Through Food Activities by Amy Houts  is a Kindle edition filled with fun and educational activities.

These activities help children:

  • learn about nutrition
  • predict outcomes of temperature changes on food
  • learn math through cooking
  • learn about foods of different cultures
  • and introduce many other food related projects

Get this ebook on Kindle today. Have it to use tomorrow.

Be the first to review it. Tell your friends.

Preschool and kindergarten, home-schooling parents, families with young children – here is just what you need to get kids learning about the world of food.


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Young Chefs as Food Critics, Food Writers, and Culinary Enthusiasts

Young Chef

Young Chef (Photo credit: Javier Delgado Esteban)

Interesting story and slideshow about 10 young cooks who already have promising culinary careers in their future.

Kid can never start too young to get interested in food and cooking.

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Kids Compete in “Iron Chef” Cooking Challenge

Kids really do like to cook and create if given an opportunity. Take a look at how one school is getting the interest of the kids and cooking. Read about it here:

Search Your Recipe File – and Creative Abilities

On another blog, someone asked for suggestions and recipes on what to make with only ingredients as listed at the end here. They were hungry for something sweet and wanted it to be fast.

I would like to challenge you to see what you could come up with, but we’ll turn it up a notch and see who can use those ingredients for the healthiest recipe.

If you had these ingredients on hand, what would you make? I would really like to hear from you to see what you would make. Let’s bring on the healthy recipes using these ingredients only and post your suggestions.

Self Rising Flour
Cocoa Powder
Orange, Yellow and Red food coloring
Orange and Lemon food flavoring
Chocolate chips
Baking Powder
Baking Soda
Corn flakes

Best to you,

Lee Jackson
Thinking nutrition

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Teenagers Cooking

The emphasis of this blog has been cooking with young children. However, there are cooking challenges with children of all ages. I just read this article about teenagers cooking and thought some of you may have older children, too, and would find value in this as well.

It is written by Glenda Gourley, a food and nutrition educator, who has a passion for getting kids into the kitchen cooking and having fun. She has developed a strategy specifically for teenage children. Her website is designed to help parents and teachers to teach kids to cook: from this site you can access the site hosted by her teenage daughter Claire, which aims to inspire kids to cook with easy, fun, healthy recipes.

“Inspiring teens to cook is tough. We all know that children haven’t got basic food skills – either in preparation or how to make good food choices. The challenge is to bridge the gap between teen apathy and imparting food skills.

In my work with teens I have discovered that this problem knows no international barriers. The consequences of this are evident everywhere in western countries – obesity is rising, consumption of fruit and vegetables is declining and consumption of highly processed foods rises. The next generation is in trouble – they just don’t know it yet. We owe it to them to give them the right skills. Kids need to be inspired and empowered to up-skill themselves and take responsibility for what they eat.

Of all the research and focus groups, the most poignant has been discovering what teens think parents need to do if they want them to learn to cook. We identified eight key points. I still struggle to keep a straight face when I recall how deadly serious they were. So whilst they may be laced with humor – make no mistake, the kids meant them.

These points verge on being precocious, but it certainly helps parents to know what teenagers are thinking. Teenagers are fickle and probably one of the more complicated groups you can try to influence – but also one of the most rewarding when you get it right. I suggest you consider the following with an open mind and then discuss it with your teen – I am sure you will find we are not too far off the mark.

In the words of teens, this is what parents should do…

1. Let me choose what I cook – simple, if I don’t like it I’m not going to want to cook it.

2. Get me a recipe that works – If I go to the effort of cooking I want it to work. I don’t want have to have to keep running to you to ask what to do next.

3. Have all the ingredients – don’t expect me to be able to substitute ingredients when I am just starting out.

4. Stay out of the kitchen – don’t be a helicopter hovering around, give me some space to work things out. But stick around the house in case I need to ask.

5. Resist ‘you should have’ comments – please, please resist the ‘you should have done this’ or ‘I do it this way’ sort of advice. If I want to know I’ll ask.

6. Be impressed – if you expect me to do this again you need to be impressed, so you might have to ‘fake it until I make it’. And don’t go telling all your friends if I do burn something or do something stupid.

7. Don’t nag – if I take a bit longer than you do or I don’t clean up exactly like you do please give me some slack. I have just cooked you a meal!

8. Cut me a deal! – be prepared to cut me a deal – if you expect me to buy into this ‘cook a meal once a week idea’ there has to be something in it for me. This ‘skills for a lifetime’ doesn’t really flick my switch – but money for the movies, being able to borrow the car or that new dress does. Make me feel like I earned it.Okay – I know it’s all about me – but I’m a teenager – it’s always about me!

Teens, especially older ones, will be leaving home before you know it. You are doing your child a huge favor if you ensure they are armed with basic cooking skills before they venture out into the big world. By knowing how to cook, teens can learn to make meals they like, make better food choices, and they will be able to better make their money go further. The added bonus is as they learn a repertoire of recipes you see them gain confidence – and you get to eat the results. I certainly can vouch how delightful it is when one of the children prepares dinner!

So take these eight tips on board and aim to inspire your teenager to cook in 2011. It will make a big difference.”

Cooking is a basic skill that is important for persons of all ages.

Lee Jackson, CFCS
Food and Family Living Specialist

Corn Bread Baking Time

Corn bread?

Image by @jozjozjoz via Flickr

On an icy, wind-swept New Year‘s eve, what could warm your heart and stomach more than some hot crusty corn bread? The following recipe is a perfect accompaniment to the black-eyed peas we started yesterday.

Crusty Corn Bread

1 1/4 cups flour
3/4 cup white corn meal
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 egg, beaten

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Grease an 8 or 9-inch pan.

Children can measure flour, corn meal, sugar, baking powder and salt into a medium-sized bowl.

Make a well in the center and add milk, oil and egg. Mix just until dry ingredients are moistened, about 50 strokes.

Pour into prepared pan. Bake 20-25 minutes or until light brown. Cut into 9 slices or square. Best served warm with a dab of butter.

Yield:  9 servings

Hope you enjoy the hot bread. You can refer to this and other seasonal recipes in Amy Hout’s  childrens cookbook, Cooking Around the Country with Kids: Holiday and Seasonal Food and Fun.

I wish you a happy and prosperous New Year, filled with many blessings. See you in 2011!

Best to you,

Lee Jackson
Family Life Issues Coach

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Halloween Pumpkins

Halloween icon
Image via Wikipedia

The pumpkin, when carved into a jack o’ lantern, is a symbol of Halloween. We are about to celebrate that day on October 31, the eve of All Saints Day.

Children enjoy picking out pumpkins in anticipation of the holiday. Once they have selected one, you may suggest  they draw pictures of pumpkins with different emotions, such as happy, sad, angry, and scared jack o’ lanterns and then talk about feelings. Drawing different expressions on paper can  help them decide on the design for their creation.

When choosing a pumpkin, look for one with a bright orange color that is firm to the touch. Avoid those that are soft or have blemishes on their skin. If your child wants a large pumpkin, suggest that you will buy any pumpkin he or she can carry. You may want to buy two – one for making into a jack o’ latern and one to cook. When choosing one for cooking, the smaller ones are better,  as the large pumpkins have stringy pulp.

Pumpkins keep longer when stored in a cool, dry place, such as outdoors, above 32 degrees F but below 60. If you plan to cook the pumpkin, do so within a month.

In her book, “Cooking Around the Calendar With Kids – Holiday and Seasonal Food and Fun Activities”, author Amy Houts,  includes an interesting section on how to toast pumpkin seeds. Her “Ranch Flavored Pumpkin Seeds” and “Spicy Seeds” create a tasty twist to regular pumpkin seeds.

Note: Seeds should not be given to young children as choking is possible.

Tomorrow I want to share with you a delicious pumpkin recipe from her cookbook.

Enjoy the fall weather and fall flavors!

Lee Jackson
Books for cooks and apple lovers
children, families and parenting professionals

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AP Stands for Apple Pie – America’s Favorite

American cultural icons, apple pie, baseball, ...
Image via Wikipedia

Apples are flying out the door at stores and orchards and roadside stands. They are at their peak of flavor.

I was at another orchard this past week-end and “loaded up” on Jonathans, one of my favorite varieties for cooking purposes. I plan to make up extra apple pies to freeze and have ready for the holidays.

Pies can be frozen either baked or unbaked. Cool baked pies completed and wrap well in wax paper or plastic wrap and cover with aluminum foil or slip them into a gallon size resealable bag. For unbaked pies, which I prefer, prepare them for freezing in the same way. Label and date.

When ready to use, defrost unwrapped baked pie in the refrigerator. Then heat the pie in 350 degree F oven for about 30 minutes. For frozen unbaked pies, unwrap and place directly in 350 degrees F oven without defrosting and bake for about 50 minutes or until nicely browned and juice bubbles through the slits in pie top.

Some people like to assemble their fruit pie filling and freeze it without the crust. For this, they would place plastic wrap on the bottom of a pie pan, pulling out enough plastic wrap to go around the entire filling. Then they pour the fruit filling onto the plastic wrap, cover with the wrap, then aluminum foil, or place in  resealable bag, and freeze. After this is frozen, they slip the filling out of the pan and, if there are several pan-fuls, they stack the frozen fillings one on top of the other in the freezer. The pie pan can then be used again and it doesn’t tie up the pie plates in the freezer. Each filling is taken out when needed. The crust is prepared and made ready for the filling. The pie is then baked same as the unbaked pie above.

I invite you to sign up for my newsletter coming out soon that will feature some special apple recipes and other tips I want to share with you.

I hope you are fortunate enough to have an apple orchard nearby to visit this week-end.

Happy eating!

Lee Jackson
author of From the Apple Orchard – Recipes for Apple Lovers
and Apples, Apples Everywhere – Favorite Recipes From American’s Orchards

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Smile While You Cook!

Watching Jamie Oliver on the Food Revolution show brings out an important aspect of cooking, among other things, and that is to really get into what you are doing (the cooking part) and SMILE. This is what Jamie told the young boy who was interested in cooking. Just to enjoy the process. So many times we get overly-concerned about getting the ingredients in just the right proportions, and being very precise about our cooking methods, that we forget to enjoy what we are doing!

Jamie has so many lessons in his TV programs, but I thought this was a very important one to teach our children – to enjoy the process of cooking.

There are different types of cooks. Some are more experimental than others. Being creative and coming up with different combinations is part of the fun of cooking. When children are young, they love to combine ingredients to see what they will do. Even combining baking soda and vinegar and seeing the results is an activity that interests children. As an adult you can explain what is happening. You can tell them that it is the carbon dioxide gas formed from mixing the two together that causes the bubbling and foaming. The resulting foam and fizz from the reaction is often used in school projects to demonstrate the eruption of a volcano.

Some recipes need to be followed closely. For example, when you are baking cakes from scratch, it is important to follow the recipe carefully, but you can still smile. As you spoon the flour and sugar, notice the texture, and yes, even the feel. The entire process of combining foods and seeing the end result can leave you with a great sense of satisfaction.

Think how enjoyable working with bread dough can be. Children love to punch, knead, and roll the dough. Then to see, smell, and taste the end product is the ultimate experience.

These are some of the pleasures of cooking at home with your child. Here are the times he or she will remember. Make it enjoyable. Let them know it is OK to touch, to feel, to taste. And make sure you convey your interest and excitement in what you are doing. It’s contagious.

Here’s how Amy Houts, author of new book, “Cooking Around the Country With Kids-USA Regional Recipes and Fun Activities” shows you how to get your kids cooking all across the country.

See Snaptail Books

Get those cooking skills going!

Lee Jackson
Home and Family Living Coach